National Police Remembrance Day


I rise to support the motion and commend the minister for bringing the matter to the attention of the house. May I first say that, in the work that our police do in respect of the personal protection of our community, their investigative role in relation to crime and the very challenging aspects of the security of our state in relation to terrorist activity and the like, at whatever level, these men and women place themselves at risk, particularly on the front line in relation to high-level squads that are important to the protection of our community.

Sadly, I do not have any police stations in my electorate. We rely on the Norwood Police Station, so a big thankyou to the police commissioner and the police minister for their cooperative work in ensuring that the extension of trading hours is respected and, of course, the new government has introduced the funding to support that.

What we have, though, is a memorial to Constable Hyde at the Leabrook Playground, at the back of the site of a former primary school, which came about as a result of the early Police Association, which has been recognised, I think by the member for Newland, as one of the oldest police operations in Australia, but particularly their association was the first of its kind in Australia.

They have been very active in supporting the recognition of Constable Hyde. Why? Because he was the first police officer who died from injuries as a result of attempting to arrest, in this case, two highwaymen who were attempting to rob, and I think successfully did rob, the Marryatville Hotel. Constable Hyde was shot and wounded. He staggered to the other side of the road but later died of injuries from that assault on him. For the information of members, he is buried in the West Terrace Cemetery.

Again, the Police Association was active in securing a significant upgrade to his grave in recognition. He is a symbol of all that our men and women in the police force risk to carry out their duties, and on a day such as this and a commemoration such as this we recognise them for their efforts. There has been a bit of a challenge in relation to the maintenance of this but, as a member of the National Trust, a member of the history branch in Burnside and a member of the Geographical Society, I am personally committed to ensure that the recognition of these memorials is maintained. It is a very important expression of what we are proud of and what should endure for future generations.

Sadly, however, it came under a bit of attack, I have to say, because under Ms Portolesi's time in the parliament she made a commitment, I think just before the 2010 election, to ensure that this memorial would be maintained. It was on land that the government wanted to sell. All sorts of commitments were made to protect it, including by the former member for Norwood at that stage, but subsequently changed to Dunstan, and the member for Hartley; both those members were involved in obviously supporting the position. The now member for Dunstan, our Premier, of course was active in this, and indeed our Speaker, as the candidate for Hartley at the time, was very active in ensuring that we maintain this.

All sorts of promises were made by the previous government, but of course as soon as they were re-elected they were abandoned, and guess what has happened? The land transfers occurred and it was necessary for us to save this memorial and for the Burnside council to step in and acquire the property to ensure the continuation of this memorial. I am a ratepayer and a taxpayer and we got slugged both ways; nevertheless, I think it is fair to say that in our district we are proud of this memorial. It symbolises everything that we should recognise in relation to the police force and the community's appreciation for what they do. It has come at a cost, but that memorial is intact and I am proud to say that it will certainly be there in my lifetime.